The Twins had played 24 exhibition games in 24 days entering Wednesday night's game with Baltimore in Fort Myers. They also had played some "B'' games and put several of their players in minor league games in recent days.
By mid-day Wednesday, the Twins' front office and manager Ron Gardenhire had made almost all roster decisions. And it was discovered after all those hours on the fields of the Lee County Sports Complex, after all the bus trips and the thousands of paragraphs of speculation, the Twins were not swayed from the Plan A that they brought to Florida.
For some reason, Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson arrived in mid-February with the mindset that Kevin Slowey would be the odd starter out in the competition for the five-man rotation, and that's what happened - even though he was a better pitcher last season than Nick Blackburn and Scott Baker, and was better than Baker again this spring.
Blackburn had pitched his way back to the minor leagues in 2010, yet Gardenhire announced early in camp that he would be in the rotation - that in the manager's words, he was "one of my guys.''
You can bet the front office didn't give Blackburn a four-year contract before the 2010 season without consulting with Gardenhire. And rather than admit this might have been a hasty decision, the Twins convinced themselves Blackburn was hampered by a minor injury last season ... to offer the sinkerball pitcher an excuse.
In Baker's case, the decision was based even more on economics. He has been going backwards as a pitcher, but there are still two years left on his contract - including over $6 million in 2012.
So, Slowey gets short-sheeted because the Twins see Blackburn as a competitor, and because there's no trade market for Baker. Everything you heard behind the scenes this winter indicated this was the way it would play out. There was nothing Slowey could have done over the past few weeks in Florida to gain a place in the rotation.
As for the bullpen: Once Matt Guerrier signed with the Dodgers, you started hearing suggestions that Jeff Manship was a possibility for a Guerrier-type role - namely, an ability to pitch frequently and in different bullpen roles.
Manship pitched poorly in exhibitions, so much so that there were hints early in the week that he might be losing his place in the bullpen. There were some accolades directed at Kyle Waldrop and even prospect Carlos Guiterrez, as if they might be candidates to supplant Manship. And then both were announced as cuts-to-be on Wednesday.
The only contender remaining for Manship's job as the final righthander in the bullpen was Jim Hoey. And then Manship pitched two scoreless innings on Wednesday might, and it looks as if he will be part of the seven-man bullpen - just as it looked in mid-February.
After Wednesday's roster reductions, there are bullpen openings for two of three lefthanders: Dusty Hughes, Glen Perkins and/or Scott Diamond.
Last week, it sounded as if Hughes was a lock. That guess is that remains the case, even though Hughes has been walking people lately (a trait of which Gardenhire and Anderson greatly disapprove).
Plus, there could be pressure from the front office to keep both Perkins, who is out of options, and Diamond, a December draftee that has to make the club or be lost.
Diamond has a blister on his pitching hand, and many clubs might use that as an excuse to stash him on the disabled list to start the season. That has not be the Twins' modus operandi in the past, so it's likely he will wind up either claimed on waivers or back in Atlanta.
As for the 13 position players, the drama concerned Justin Morneau's return from his post-concussion symptoms, as well as injuries that delayed Delmon Young briefly, and Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer for a longer period.
On Wednesday night, all four were in the lineup and now it seems certain the four-player bench will be the same as anticipated at the start of spring training: Jim Thome, surrounded by infielder Matt Tolbert, outfielder Jason Repko and catcher Drew Butera.
Luke Hughes actually has made life easier for Gardenhire by putting up 0-fers late in spring. Otherwise, the manager would have had to explain why the Twins were keeping the light-hitting Tolbert over Hughes and his right-handed power.
As for Repko, there was no amount of futility at the plate that could cost him spot as the extra outfielder, and there were no candidates to supplant Butera as the backup to Mauer.
Late in February, the Twins strarted the exhibitions with a Plan A, and barring a last-minute injury setback, they will leave Florida next Monday with that plan fully implemented.
Five games left down there and the last question seems to be Perkins or Diamond? I think most Twins' fans are more worried about what the weather will be at Target Field on the weekend of April 8-10, than they are over that one.